Based in New York, Agathe Snow’s work has gained cult following as it aims to draw the viewer in and make them feel part of the group that her pieces celebrate.
Name: Agathe Snow
Year of Birth: 1976
Birthplace: Corsica, France
Mediums: Sculpture, Video, Performance
About Agathe Snow
Agathe Snow moved to New York aged just 18, where, working as a caterer, she met artist Dash Snow in New York’s Bowery art scene which was beginning to gain pace at this time. Upon realising she faced 183 remaining days in the USA before facing deportation Agathe and Dash made plans to marry, securing her status as a citizen – although this was not finalised until the last day of this period. Following the 9/11 attacks the Bowery movement was known for its party focus – in the face of ‘adversity’ – propelling Agathe’s career. Famed for dancing on bars, her actions were dubbed ‘art’, a term Agathe never accepted. Her first gallery exhibition however did not arrive until 2003 with pieces under the title ‘Follow me, Follow You’, focussing on abstract collages which represent aspects of her, her friends and their personal stories. Agathe continued to build her repertoire by submitting pieces for collections and exploring performance art, most notably by asking 36 individuals to dance for as long as they could beside ‘ground zero’ in New York in 2007. Later in the same year she was approached by gallery owner Jim Fuentes to produce work for a solo exhibition. For this installation Agathe built an environment under the premise of Manhattan after the Apocalypse, where the survivors built a new life for themselves inside the belly of a whale. Titled “No Need to Worry, the Apocalypse Has Already Happened. . . when it couldn’t get any worse, it just got a little better” this constantly evolving exhibition showed ‘American’ imagery such as ‘McDonalds’ logos combined with the carnage of twisted metal – demonstrating a satirical take on the values of American culture. By also allowing viewers to add their own pieces to the collage structures, Agathe not only engaged them in the work – she was also able to draw inspiration from the viewer, which young artists thrive on. The truly engaging feature of Agathe’s work is that it contains a femininity which is not normally associated with her subjects, a belief solidified in the pieces of the 2007 show “I Don’t Know but I’ve Been Told Eskimo Pussy is Mighty Cold”. Here, Agathe crucified animals and placed them adjacent to Neon signs and brightly coloured balloons. Again this suggests satire in the same way as the American imagery did in her early work as she instigates that individuals and society as a whole refuses to fully immerse in the depth of an emotionally challenging situation – rather we add or own light hearted slant to avoid pain in any form. Agathe’s personal life is also reflected in this work. Her heavily publicized divorce from Dash Snow, had reverberations across the cultural landscape of New York, which happened at this time added a different perspective to her work. When taking this into account when viewing the ‘I Don’t Know…’ exhibition it suggests Agathe was following the same course of emotional action as others and not merely criticising their behaviour – rather examining her own. Her 2008 video titled ‘Total attitude Workout Video’, reinforced the humour of her work by looking at stereotypical female behaviour, from situations as varied as ‘How to Get Into an Exclusive Nightclub’ to ‘How to Behave When Meeting Jesus’. The video reflects Agathe again on a personal level by examining feminine attributes at a time when she discovered her then husband Dash was having an extra-marital affair. Furthermore, by going back to performance art, Agathe appeared to be making reference to a wish to return to her early work, where she was still in a peaceful relationship and also less in the public attention.
Following Dash’s death in July 2009 Agathe has made little impression on the art world, unquestionably hurt by the tragedy. Her main piece of the year for Art Basel titled ‘Something Big, Something Small’ focussed on a trinket which she ‘cannot afford to loose’. This represents perhaps that Agathe is taking a less verbose view on her art in the aftermath of tragedy. Agathe claims she never thought of herself as an artist until early 2008 and, in the wake of her recent work, the impression we of a hurt ‘girl’ suggests she no longer wishes to be one either.